Don’t Forget About Your Partner (by Lana, an Anaesthetist’s Wife)

If you’ve ever met me, seen me talk at an anaesthetic conference, or read my articles, you’ll know that Anaesthetic Group began purely to help my husband – I’m an anaesthetist’s wife.

What you may not know is that it wasn’t simply to help him become more efficient, and better prepared for patients. It was, above all else, to ensure he had more time for ‘us’.

I have great respect for doctors. And I’m not medical. As anaesthetists, you have people’s lives in your hands. If that’s not stressful, I don’t know what is. Maybe that’s why you all care so much about being great anaesthetists, and prepare so thoroughly for each operation. I love that about your profession.

But please don’t forget about your partner!

We’re your biggest supporter. But, as a partner, we usually come in second place.

On a side note, I once heard a medico-legal lawyer talk. He said your biggest threat isn’t being sued by your patients, but being cleaned out by your partner… Interesting. Please, please, please… don’t forget about your partner.

If you’re anything like my husband, you probably don’t get hints. So here are some clear and simple tips to keep us happy:

  • Include us in your weekly, or four-weekly, cycle. Create a routine so we know that Monday of week one is always going to be a late night, and we shouldn’t make plans
  • Share your calendar with us – Google Calendar is awesome for this. This way, we know when we can accept invites to parties, and not need to wait for you to get back to us
  • Lock-in our date nights and weekends away. If you need suggestions let me know
  • Lock-in conferences and getaways so we know when, and where, we’ll be travelling, and can start planning
  • Set alerts in your phone for important dates. As our best man said, the easiest way to remember your wedding anniversary is to forget it once..
  • Now, set an alert for a few days before the event, if you need to make a purchase
  • Let us help if we can – is there something we can do to help you free up more time? Perhaps we can check the P.O. box, do your reconciliations, or check the banking
  • When you’re home, be home. We understand that most, if not all, anaesthetists only have a home study. Please ensure that when you’re at the dinner table or talking to us at home, you’re present. Leave your phone in the study if you’re not on call
  • Pick your battles. If we complain that we’re in pain, and we haven’t taken pain relief, it’s not the right time to give us an explanation of how pain relievers work
  • Don’t compete – if we tell you about our bad day, please don’t mention a 28 year old patient who is terminally ill, died, or got bad news today. We understand – our bad day can never compete with your bad day, but please listen to our story, and feel some empathy for us
  • Don’t share all your gruesome stories with us – telling us over dinner about something really cool you saw, which is in fact really gross, especially if we aren’t medical, is really un-appetising. Don’t even think about photos
  • On that note, please don’t keep reminding us that everything we let our child do could result in a head injury. You may have seen one child get their finger caught in a drawer and have it amputated in 2002, but this doesn’t mean our just-walking child is likely to need an amputation too
  • It would be lovely if, on one of your days off, you could lock-in a day with our family or a date lunch for us – just as you lock-in an appointment with your accountant. Please plan for it
  • Use Find My Friends – my family use this app multiple times per day. You can even set an alert to notify you when a person leaves one address, or arrives at another. I’m sure some will think this is too intrusive, but it’s helped us a lot. I set an alert so I know when he’s on his way home, and I can start cooking dinner. Then, I plate up just as he’s about to walk in the door. (I love cooking by the way – here’s a shameless plug for the cookbook I wrote – link here!) I can also see if he’s still driving to work, so I know if he’d have time to talk before the list begins. If we go out and agree to meet somewhere, I can easily see where he is. The list goes on.
  • Every so often, a nice bunch of flowers or an impromptu gift doesn’t go amiss – if you need gift ideas for your wife, check if she has a Pinterest board.. most of us do!
  • Finally, believe it or not, we do understand that your patients are your number one priority – that’s one of the reasons we love and respect you so very much. But, please, make sure we’re your second!

After all…

… a happy wife = a happy life!